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Silent as possible PC without sacrificing much power

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Last response: in Systems
May 2, 2010 5:57:26 PM

Ok, brother asked me a question that got me interested; he asked me how powerful a PC could you build, that's silent (or close to). He's interested in building a new PC but he wants it to be quiet, very quiet, saying that though, he doesn't want to sacrifice too much power.
I guess the build budget would be around the £700 max mark. How powerful a quiet PC could be gotten within that sort of budget?

More about : silent sacrificing power

May 2, 2010 6:54:25 PM

I just searched Google on the term : "Quiet PC"

. . . Ah-MAY-zinngg !

= Al =
May 2, 2010 7:27:47 PM

I'm sure you can get very radical, with the whole silence thing, but from a "main-stream build" perspective ... It is possible to build a VERY powerful PC that has less than 20dB noise rating, on any moving part ...

SilverStone makes a few PSUs that Rate under 20 dB ... There are many others.
A 120mm PSU fan rated under 20dB is a good place to start ... get the highest quality, tho.

CASE FANS: Several are available which do greater than 30CFM (flow) @ under 20dB

SSDs ... You don't SAY !?

GPU is a weak spot ... Passive cards are mostly for HTPC ... not SLI/gaming ...
... There are a few very elaborate and expensive water cooling setups but, let's not get too freaky. I would look (CLOSELY) at two 9800GT-EE (low power) cards (not at newegg).

HDD ... Seagate 7200.12 series drives ... if a spinner is in the build.

CASE ... Bigger is actually better ... not the kind with "screen-porch" venting (unless 100% passive!) ...
... Placement ... How about running all the cables, thru the wall, from the next room ? ... I have lined the "computers-cubby", under my studio console, with 2-foot square acoustic ceiling tiles with carpet remnants (door mats, actually) glued onto them ... Like a 5-sided acoustic cube. The rear one is movable for cable routing and venting ("lean-to" style)

... Room Treatment ... Suffice it to say ... The room acoustics are important and they are under YOUR control. I have a long term project to get carpet remnants and surplus acoustic tiles from our local Habitat (For Humanity) "Re-Store" wher contractors get credit for surplus donations of unused/re-used materials.

Or ... just get a good set (or two) of fully-isolated, noise-cancelling studio monitor headphones ... and be done with it.

= enough! =

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May 2, 2010 7:51:39 PM

CPU: You could go as high as you want, then get a big cooler and undervolt (or even underclock the thing). This should aid you to shave off 10C or more (which may be the difference between the fan running or not).

GPU: Your limitation would be on what aftermarket cooler you could get. Silent cards are usually the mid-range cards and below.

HDD: The 7200.12 isn't really quiet, there are far better drives for silence. (I know it's noisy, I have 2).
May 2, 2010 8:08:57 PM

amnotanoobie said:
HDD: The 7200.12 isn't really quiet, there are far better drives for silence. (I know it's noisy, I have 2).

I read one review that ranked it as very slightly quieter than the Caviar Black and the Spinpoint F3 ... Course, that may be like comparing chainsaws for noise ... not gonna go over too well, in church, regardless of which ones ...

The Kingston 64GB SSD is no screaming speed demon but it is cheap(ish) and TOTALLY silent, and big enough for everything but content. Again ... You could use an external enclosure, for your content HDD, and sound-proof a vented cubby, for that ... make the airflow take a few "turns" before it enters/exits the cubby... Not terribly elegant .. but cheap & practical.

ATOM/ION2 builds ... (the latest) have TOTALLY silent PSUs and the latest ATOMS (the next ones, anyway) will be good for most casual HTPC/net-surf application and usage "styles" ... Gaming? ... nope.

= Al =
May 2, 2010 8:18:14 PM

Actually ... I've just been going over the latest ATOM products and reviews ...

... In a nutshell ? . . . S U C K S !

= Al =
May 2, 2010 8:37:26 PM

Watercooling+passive radiator+passive PSU+Sound insulating foam+SSD=dead silence

Don't forget your fungicide ! .. But, yeah ... sounds like a plan (bit pricey).

Got links? ... Give us a build !

= Al =